Want to help prevent future flu pandemics? It’s easy. You don’t have to lobby congress for billions of funding for pandemic research. You don’t have to wear a surgical mask 24×7. No, the best thing you can do is to vote with your dollars. Buy pasture-raised pork and other meats. Really, it’s that easy? Indeed it is. Read this fantastic article from Wired.com.
So next time you go the grocery store to pick up a cellophane wrapped package of meat (how convenient!), or you order that steak or the pork chops off the menu at the restaurant, just realize that you are contributing to system that is killing us. Sounds harsh? Well, it’s time we faced the cold hard facts. So what’s the answer? Find local producers in your area that raise their animals on pasture. They care about the welfare of their animals, their workers, the environment, and their customers.
EatWild.com is a great resource to find local producers. Go to the farmer’s markets, or better yet go to the farms, and know where your food comes from. It could prevent the next flu pandemic.
Please read this. It’s important to our future. Really. I’m not joking.
Oh, and don’t get scared away by the fact it is many pages long. Just sit down and dedicate some time to it.
The Food Issue – An Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief – Michael Pollan – NYTimes.com
P.S. Yes, it was published almost 10 days ago and I’m slow in getting it posted. What can I say? I’ve been busy.
In Trial Run, Chipotle Heads to the Farm – washingtonpost.com
Chipotle is the only fast food restaurant where Lisa and I can actually eat meat. She and I have been trying to follow a pasture/natural-raised meat diet. Unfortunately, that means we end up eating vegetarian most of the time when we eat outside of the home. However, Chipotle brings some hope that pasture-raised meat can become more prevalent in restaurants.
I’m having an “I Hate New York” day. You would think that a city of 8 million people would have everything under the sun. You would think that there would be so many people with such broad interests that it would create enough demand, even in niche areas, so you could easily find whatever your heart desires. You would think. I’m here to tell you that it just isn’t true. As diverse as NYC seems, most people here are really the same. New Yorkers are much more “middle America” than they would ever admit.
Why is there not a butcher in all of NYC that carries locally-produced, pasture-raised meat? I have done some extensive searching and I found one, and all they carry is pork chops and pork spare ribs that are priced twice as much as what I can buy at the farmer’s market. And don’t tell me it is economically sustainable, that there isn’t enough demand. See here for proof that it can work.
So instead of heading off to the butcher shop any day of the week, I have to wait for Wednesday or Saturday to go to the farmer’s market to buy from the two producers who bring their product into the city (Flying Pigs Farm and Hawethorne Valley Farm). Thank God for the farmer’s market. Of course, if I really want to plan ahead, I can always order online, but that’s not the point.
P.S. If you want more info on pasture-raised meat, check out this great website. And if you want to read a great book that talks about pasture-raised meat and other meat-eating issues, then read The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
I like to consider myself a somewhat environmentally conscious person. I would say that I am more so than your average individual. Definitely here in New York where it seems most people don’t give a second thought to throwing trash on the ground, buying food in styrofoam containers, and using plastic bags by the bushel. Back in Seattle I’m definitely closer to the average person’s environmental awareness, but here I feel like I’m almost some “crazy environmentalist” compared to most everyone else.
One of the things I like to stay cognizant of is the fish that I eat. So many of the world’s fish stocks have been and continue to be over-fished. We, as individuals making a decision about which fish we purchase, are the ones who need to be aware of the impact our dining choices make. I carry a wallet-sized card with me that lists fish to avoid as well as fish that are okay to eat. You can find it at the Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch website. There is one fish in particular that I have seen mentioned in a few news articles recently – bluefin tuna. Check out this post on Eater.com which points out two different stories in the New York Times about bluefin tuna.
One of the articles mentions how yellowfin pales in comparison to blue fin and that it just isn’t a good substitute for serving raw. Unfortunately, I have to agree. However, just because something tastes good doesn’t mean we should eat it to extinction. I know this would be breaking generations of tradition since there are so many animal species that we have already decimated thanks to our voracious appetites.
I have walked out of restaurants before because of what they choose to serve on their menu. I have refused to give my business to fish purveyors because of what they choose to sell. However, I find myself facing a dilemma. My employer serves bluefin tuna. Copious amounts of bluefin tuna. What, if anything, can I do?
First, before I go on, I want to admit that at the end of the night, after service is over, I eat some of the leftover bluefin tuna that would otherwise be destined for the garbage bin (or more likely into other cooks/runners/servers mouths). This is leftover tuna that, whether I’m eating a few bites of it or not, would still be there at the end of the day. I’m not generating any additional demand for it. Despite this, I still do feel a little pang of guilt with every delicious, creamy bite.
My hope is that the tuna becomes so expensive that we can’t afford to carry it on the menu any more. Of course… that would end my (mostly) guilt-free indulgence of bluefin tuna. Fish that I would otherwise never purchase.
What’s an environmentally conscious person to do?